Climate ethics at a multidisciplinary crossroads: four directions for future scholarship
In recent years, the field of climate ethics has grown into a truly multidisciplinary endeavor. Climate ethics scholars are pursuing both normative and positive questions about climate change using many different approaches drawn from a wide diversity of disciplinary and theoretical perspectives. Now, the field stands at a multidisciplinary crossroads, delineated in large part by two interrelated considerations: what are the key research questions most in need of multidisciplinary attention and what can be done to move the insights and implications of climate ethics scholarship into real-world climate decision-making. Here, we identify four directions for near-future climate ethics research that we believe are both in need of further examination and likely to be of interest to a diverse coalition of decision-makers working “on the ground”: geoengineering; scope of ethical consideration; responsibility of actors; and, hazards, vulnerabilities and impacts. Regardless of the specific questions they choose to pursue, multidisciplinary climate ethics researchers should strive to conduct accessible and actionable research that both answers the questions decision-makers are already asking as well as helps shape those questions to make decision-making processes more inclusive and ethically-grounded.